ESL Icebreakers

3 Easy ESL Icebreakers

 

You can never have too many warmers or ESL icebreakers for teaching English, right? They’re ideal for classes of any age; whether you know them well or are about to teach a class of children you’ve never met before. This article is the second part of ESL Icebreakers to make sure you and your students have a fun and active class.

 

 

 

 

Find the Owner

Preparation: Bring pieces of A5 paper to the classroom – enough for each child to have one

Approximate Time: 5-15 minutes

The aim of this warmer is to break the ice and get students talking to one another. It can be used to review specific vocabulary and grammar points depending on your target language. It’s particularly useful for reviewing past and future tenses – this model will use past tense.

  1. Start by telling the students something that you have done that week
  2. Ask the students to think of and tell you a couple of things they have done that week (but not too many)
  3. Distribute small (A5) piece of paper to each student
  4. Tell them to anonymously write down one thing, without telling or showing anyone
  5. Tell the students to fold their paper twice, and hand it to you
  6. Redistribute the paper to different students
  7. The students must find the owner of the paper they end up with by asking questions relating to the sentence on their piece of paper
  1. (optional) students can then present to the class who their partner was

 

Snowball

Preparation: Bring A5 pieces of paper to classroom

Approximate Time: 5-15

A variation of the previous game; this warmer can also be used for reviewing purposes, although it includes less dialogue.

  1. Start by telling the students something you have done this week
  2. Ask the students to think of a few things they have done that week
  3. Distribute small (A5) piece of paper to each student
  4. The Students anonymously write down one thing, without telling or showing anyone
  5. Tell the students to screw their paper up into a ball (you can show them this with spare paper)
  6. Tell the students they are going to have a snowball fight with their paper, and to keep picking up ‘snowballs’ until you tell them to stop
  7. When you say stop, the students pick up a ‘snowball’ from the floor and take it back to their seat

 

You can either tell the students to mingle and find the owner of the ‘snowball’ (perfect for practising dialogue) or have them read it aloud and decide between the class which ‘snowball’ belongs to which student (good for reading and listening skills).

 

Draw a Monster

Preparation: Bring a large (A3) piece of paper to class

Approximate Time: 5-15 minutes

  1. (If needed) Review body parts and appearances
  2. Draw the top of a person (you can change this to animal, alien, monster…) and tell the students what you are drawing without showing them
  3. Fold the top of the paper down and pass it to the next student
  4. Tell them to draw the next part
  5. Pass the paper around the class
  6. When every student has drawn something, unfold the paper a little at a time to reveal the creature (most probably to the laughter of the students)

 

You can then create a story for the character – name, age, job, hobbies, etc. The students can be as creative as they like with this part, and make an introduction for the creature.

 

 

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Post by Jaye Plant, EF English First Shanghai

JayeJaye is a keen writer with an obsession for travel. When Jaye is not teaching, she can be found around Shanghai, exploring new places and feeding her coffee addiction.

Click here to learn more about Jaye.